With the Green Bay Packers first preseason game coming up on Friday night against the Arizona Cardinals, we took some time with Jess Root of SBNation's Cardinals blog, Revenge of the Birds, to swap a few questions about our respective teams. Here is what Jess had to say about
APC: Carson Palmer is obviously the biggest name that the Cardinals added this year. What are your expectations for Palmer and for the Arizona passing game as a whole?
ROTB: Well, after the abject failure of 2012, it is hard not to be excited for the passing game. Palmer is a guy that can get the ball down the field. Bruce Arians runs an offense that really moves the ball. Palmer had over 4000 yards for the Raiders. He now has Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. I would say that the passing offense is expected to be solid. At minimum, he should be able to repeat his 2012 stats.
APC: The Packers certainly have their share of injured players coming into Friday's game...what is the state of the Cards in terms of health and availability?
ROTB: Well, there are no serious injuries. There are only minor soft tissue injuries and some knee soreness. Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams have some soreness in their surgically repaired knees. Defensive tackle Dan Williams has a sprained ankle. There are a few hamstrings, but overall, the team is healthy. After a season where the team lost several starters, this is a welcome sight.
APC: What do you expect Bruce Arians to bring as a head coach that Ken Whisenhunt didn't? Or rather what are the biggest differences in their approaches early on?
ROTB: It's funny. So many fans think that the two are so different. They are not. Arians seems more open with the media, but I'm not sure he is. He is a great communicator and is very blunt with his players. Perhaps the one major difference is his willingness to play rookies. Arians runs an offense that is similar to Whisenhunt's, but they are very similar. However, because he seems to speak more openly and he has done a few new or unorthodox things, he has the full trust of fans already.
APC: With Palmer being the big news, what significant changes have been made to the defense over the off season?
ROTB: The defense had a complete makeover, which is surprising considering their 2012 success. Gone is Ray Horton. Gone are Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, William Gay, Paris Lenon and O'Brien Schofield. Daryl Washington is also out for at least four games for a substance abuse suspension. New DC Todd Bowles has a defense that has the defensive line attacking and the defensive backfield very aggressive at attacking the ball. Patrick Peterson looks fantastic. They have added Karlos Dansby and John Abraham. Somehow, they completely made over a defensive unit that was really good, but with the talent that is there, if there is a step backwards, it should not be too big.
APC: What are your overall predictions for the Cardinals this season? Will you be measuring success in wins and losses or in improvements in execution even if they don't translate to wins?
ROTB: I think it goes both ways. It is clear the team has made moves intending to win now. That is why they went out and got Palmer, Eric Winston, Karlos Dansby and John Abraham. While the division is expected to be very strong, this team is not conceding. Now, if they look good but don't win games, it still will be a step in the right direction.
Our thanks go out to Jess and Revenge of the Birds for the fine work they do covering the Cardinals. Stay tuned tomorrow for our gameday coverage.
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